Retirement date


Q. Is Feb. 8, 2014, a good time to retire?

I am a CSRS employee. I was looking at Dec. 28, 2013, but I am not sure about my sick leave. If I have 160 hours of sick leave on the books, will this count as an additional month added to my retirement? My goal is to have 33 years. For either date, when would I receive my first retirement check?

A. Typically, a good day to retire is one that is at the end of a pay period (to get credit for any annual and sick leave earned during that period), before the end of the leave year (to receive a lump-sum payment for all unused annual leave, including any that exceeds the annual 240 hour limit), and, for CSRS employees, no later than the third day of a month. Keeping the latter point in mind, if you retired Feb. 8, you wouldn’t be on the annuity roll until March and be entitled to your first annuity payment in April.

One hundred and seventy-four hours of unused sick leave equals one month. However, unused sick leave doesn’t stand alone. It is added to any hours of actual service that don’t add up to a month when an employee’s annuity is calculated. Like sick leave days, a day of unused actual service is 5.797+ hours long. That figure is derived by dividing 2,087 (the number of hours in a work year) by 360 (the number of days in a retirement year).


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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